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  • Titel-Magazin
    TITEL kulturmagazin
    Sonntag, 20. August 2017 | 23:12

    Die Popkolumne aus London

    24.11.2012

    Loving Music to a Ridiculous Degree: An Interview with This Many Boyfriends.

    You know when a band comes along, seemingly out of nowhere, that sound like a cool refreshing blast of fresh air? Well, cliché aside, this is exactly how This Many Boyfriends’ debut album sounds to me. Upon first hearing said article I instantly leapt from my chair, grabbed some daffodils and danced like a lunatic. This slightly surprised my nan who had popped over for a visit at the time. Not wanting to feel left out she decided, rather bravely perhaps, to join in. But she didn’t have the cool funky-assed moves like me. By JOHN BITTLES

     

    Pre This Many Boyfriends I had become lost within that long dark K-hole of dubstep and a dank echoing combination of beats and bass. Then the album breezed its way into the empty school science division corridor that makes up my sad lonely life. Suddenly guitars sounded cool and relevant again. How had I lived so long without them! For the first time in weeks I left the house and went for a walk in the park while listening to the album repeatedly on my MP3.

     

    Sounding like a long-lost indie party where Pulp meets The Wonder Stuff in some glorious marriage of harmonies and guitars the album is easily one of the highlights of the year. The vocals sound uncannily like a lost, lonely, and a little bit horny, Morrissey singing in his trademark mournful way. The guitars crash where needed, the drums thump with just the right balance of funk and aggression. And everything combines to create a truly wondrous sound. In short I have a major band-crush on these guys!

     

    Formed in Leeds they have featured numerous line-up changes in their few short years. Last month they tentatively presented their self-titled debut album to an unassuming world. Containing eleven indie-pop gems that recall the majesty of The Smiths and various other great guitar bands, songs such as Young Lovers Go Pop, Tina Weymouth and Starling seduce you, cajole you, and drunkenly encourage you to give them a huge big hug (groping, presumably, allowed).

     

    I was lucky enough to get an interview with Richard (lead vocals), Tom (bass), Laura (drums), Daniel (lead guitar), and Ben (guitar), covering various topics, including facial hair, lyrics, and the drinking habits of the German nation. I would humbly suggest listening to some of their music while reading this. Then rushing to your local record emporium to buy their album immediately upon finishing. You won’t be disappointed! But if, for some strange reason, you are, then you can rest assured that you have absolutely no musical taste. Go buy that One Direction album now!

     

    Hi there. Can you tell us a little bit about the band?

     

    Ben: We are 5 people with preppy hair.

    Daniel: Preppy, is that another word for bad?

    Laura:  We’re 5 people from the North of England who all have brilliant hair

    Richard: Well we all have the same hair really, just at differing lengths!

    Tom: Just really great hair and some damn good facial hair as well

     

    Love the record! I’ve been annoying the neighbours with it for weeks now! How did it come about?

     

    Richard: We did a single a couple of years ago with Angular Records and after we did a couple more, Joe at Angular decided we could do an LP. And then we brought together some old songs and some new songs to create what you have been annoying the neighbours with!

    Tom: It’s a nice mix of songs we’ve had for a few years and some we wrote last minute in the studio.

    Daniel: Last minute, but not in a lazy way, in more of a »here are our ideas what do you reckon Ryan Jarman« kind of way. Everything was the most ›last minute song‹ we did

     

    What was it like working with the living legend that is Ryan Jarman?

     

    Daniel: Awesome, it was fun to work with another guitarist too, we spent a lot of time figuring out the right kind of guitar noise for each song.

    Laura: It was a lot of fun and really interesting. We’ve been in studios before but more just played the songs how we played them live and that was that. Whereas with Ryan there was a lot more time put into trying out »sounds« to add atmosphere to the record and stuff like that. That was fun.

    Richard: Yeah it was really fun and also really relaxed. He obviously had an idea of what he wanted the album to sound like, which was raw and live. No auto tune and very few takes. He was awesome.

    Tom: Well vibey


    With guitar music having quite a bad rep in 2012 did it feel brave to release something that could be referred to as a  ›proper indie album‹?

     

    Richard: Nah. We’re not really concerned with what else is going on in music, we just play what we like and hope some other people will like it too.

    Daniel: No, not really. It would've been cool to have released it in the early 00’s when guitar music was big though, but you can't really think that way

    Tom: No one solo’s anymore. We’re going to fix that. Watch out for the next album, we’re hoping to get a guitar solo in every 20 seconds


    Do you have a favourite song from the record?

     

    Ben: I'm going to be a »glory-seeker« and say Young Lovers Go Pop

    Laura: Mine might be Everything, but it’s our newest song and we always like the new ones best. I like all the ones with Hannah's backing vocals – which have been wrongly attributed to me a couple of times. The lovely lady vocals are actually our friend Hannah from Owl & Mouse.

    Richard: Mine is Tina Weymouth, mostly because lyrically it is pointing towards the next record. This album was about loving music to a ridiculous degree, the next one will focus more on a life after obsessing over music.

    Daniel: That’s a tough one, Toss up between the opener, the closer and I Don't Like You.

    Tom: You Don’t Need To Worry is my fave because it’s a bit slower and bigger than the other songs. Kind of like the Emile Heskey of the album.


    Good lyrics appear to be a dying art-form in the current music scene. Yet your tracks feature some of the best I’ve heard in years. Is it time for a resurgence in quality song-writing?

     

    Ben: I think the lyrics are actually about something which is maybe refreshing at the moment. The current trend is to be aloof, mysterious, unattainable, distorted by an Instagram filter and wrapped up in an Aztec jumper like Noel Edmonds. We're not airbrushed, we're just there saying, look at us, we're a bit crap and awkward just like you! But with tunes.

    Laura: Don’t give Richard a big head. I’ve got to live with that ego.

    Richard: I think it’s not really the quality of the lyrics but how much you can hear them. I think a lot of bands now are hiding lyrics behind reverb and fuzz, like they’re not as important as vocal melody. It’s a shame but there are still great lyricists out there, they’re just hiding!


    There has been a great reaction to the record with a fab review in NME, and a feature on The Guardian website. You must be quite chuffed?

     

    Ben: I think it's one of those records that if you »get it« you really get it and hold it dear.

    Laura: Incredibly so! It’s had a much better/wider reaction than we ever would have thought which is very exciting. And not cos we really rate the NME or anything, but it gets our music to a wider audience of people, some of whom might really love it. And that’s awesome. Also, it’s something to show your grandkids in years to come. So that’s nice.

    Richard:  Very excited! It means a lot, especially cos the NME have been behind us from the start. And the review was written by Mark Beaumont who I really respect as a writer. It’s all being quite overwhelming. I think the most overwhelming press has been outside of the UK. We did not expect it at all and the response has been fantastic, especially in Germany!

    Tom: It’s nice, if we could transfer that into actual sales that would be better

     

    What activity or activities would best accompany repeated listens of the album?

     

    Daniel: Diary entries

    Laura: Partying.

    Richard: I’d say pre-partying! Put it on while you're getting ready to go out.  

    Tom: Drinking.

     

    What made you decide to form a band?


    Ben: I formed my first band when I was 9, so I'd say to avoid playing sports in the playground. Laura: Easy access to coke and hookers.

    Richard: It’s more fun than office admin.

    Tom: Boredom

    Daniel: …..writing music.

     

    What can we expect from This Many Boyfriends in the near future?


    Ben: Facial hair

    Daniel: No more facial hair!

    Laura: More of everything.

    Richard: Gigs, gigs, gigs. And a new album.

    Tom: A new range of hair products.

     

    Have you any gigs lined up? And have you any plans to tour Germany?


    Daniel: There’s this band called Cud who I have heard were quite the band back in the day. We are supporting them in Leeds, in December

    Laura: We’re booking a few gigs for next year – in London mostly so far. But elsewhere too. We would LOVE to come to Germany and are trying to plan a tour – any bookers/promoters in Germany want to help us out?!

    Tom: I would love to tour round Germany.I hear you guys can really drink

     

    Who or what has been influencing you recently?

     

    Ben: Apple products, sadly. And I don't mean ›Cox's Pippins‹.

    Daniel: Hard to point them out at this moment, but in future hindsight, it will probably be The Strokes, again.

    Laura: Grace Maxwell. Cartography. Old Rosie cider.

    Richard: Breaking Bad, Arrested Development and Paws. Guess that means I’m going to start cooking crystal meth, having hilarious family arguments and playing cool Scottish slacker rock. Awesome.

     

    What are your albums of the year?


    Ben: Ariel Pink, Tame Impala, Liars

    Daniel: I found this band called Heaviness from Sweden , it’s an old album I think, but better than anything else this year

    Laura: Celebration Rock by Japandroids

    Richard: Cokefloat! by Paws, Shrines by Purity Ring and Mature Themes by Ariel Pink

    Tom: Wrecking Ball by Springsteen, Visions by Grimes

     

     

    Thanks to the band for taking the time to answer my questions.

    Daniel: Awesome, it was fun to work with another guitarist too, we spent a lot of time figuring out the right kind of guitar noise for each song.
    Laura: It was a lot of fun and really interesting. We’ve been in studios before but more just played the songs how we played them live and that was that. Whereas with Ryan there was a lot more time put into trying out »sounds« to add atmosphere to the record and stuff like that. That was fun.
    Richard: Yeah it was really fun and also really relaxed. He obviously had an idea of what he wanted the album to sound like, which was raw and live. No auto tune and very few takes. He was awesome.
    Tom: Well vibey

    With guitar music having quite a bad rep in 2012 did it feel brave to release something that could be referred to as a   ›proper indie album‹?

    Richard: Nah. We’re not really concerned with what else is going on in music, we just play what we like and hope some other people will like it too.
    Daniel: No, not really. It would've been cool to have released it in the early 00’s when guitar music was big though, but you can't really think that way
    Tom: No one solo’s anymore. We’re going to fix that. Watch out for the next album, we’re hoping to get a guitar solo in every 20 seconds


    Do you have a favourite song from the record?

    Ben: I'm going to be a »glory-seeker« and say Young Lovers Go Pop
    Laura: Mine might be Everything, but it’s our newest song and we always like the new ones best. I like all the ones with Hannah's backing vocals – which have been wrongly attributed to me a couple of times. The lovely lady vocals are actually our friend Hannah from Owl & Mouse.
    Richard: Mine is Tina Weymouth, mostly because lyrically it is pointing towards the next record. This album was about loving music to a ridiculous degree, the next one will focus more on a life after obsessing over music.
    Daniel: That’s a tough one, Toss up between the opener, the closer and I Don't Like You.
    Tom: You Don’t Need To Worry is my fave because it’s a bit slower and bigger than the other songs. Kind of like the Emile Heskey of the album.

    Good lyrics appear to be a dying art-form in the current music scene. Yet your tracks feature some of the best I’ve heard in years. Is it time for a resurgence in quality song-writing?

    Ben: I think the lyrics are actually about something which is maybe refreshing at the moment. The current trend is to be aloof, mysterious, unattainable, distorted by an Instagram filter and wrapped up in an Aztec jumper like Noel Edmonds. We're not airbrushed, we're just there saying, look at us, we're a bit crap and awkward just like you! But with tunes.
    Laura: Don’t give Richard a big head. I’ve got to live with that ego.
    Richard: I think it’s not really the quality of the lyrics but how much you can hear them. I think a lot of bands now are hiding lyrics behind reverb and fuzz, like they’re not as important as vocal melody. It’s a shame but there are still great lyricists out there, they’re just hiding!

    There has been a great reaction to the record with a fab review in NME, and a feature on The Guardian website. You must be quite chuffed?

    Ben: I think it's one of those records that if you »get it« you really get it and hold it dear.
    Laura: Incredibly so! It’s had a much better/wider reaction than we ever would have thought which is very exciting. And not cos we really rate the NME or anything, but it gets our music to a wider audience of people, some of whom might really love it. And that’s awesome. Also, it’s something to show your grandkids in years to come. So that’s nice.
    Richard:  Very excited! It means a lot, especially cos the NME have been behind us from the start. And the review was written by Mark Beaumont who I really respect as a writer. It’s all being quite overwhelming. I think the most overwhelming press has been outside of the UK. We did not expect it at all and the response has been fantastic, especially in Germany!
    Tom: It’s nice, if we could transfer that into actual sales that would be better

    What activity or activities would best accompany repeated listens of the album?

    Daniel: Diary entries
    Laura: Partying.
    Richard: I’d say pre-partying! Put it on while you're getting ready to go out.
    Tom: Drinking.

    What made you decide to form a band?

    Ben: I formed my first band when I was 9, so I'd say to avoid playing sports in the playground.
    Laura: Easy access to coke and hookers.
    Richard: It’s more fun than office admin.
    Tom: Boredom
    Daniel: …..writing music.

    What can we expect from This Many Boyfriends in the near future?

    Ben: facial hair
    Daniel: No more facial hair!
    Laura: More of everything.
    Richard: Gigs, gigs, gigs. And a new album.
    Tom: A new range of hair products.

    Have you any gigs lined up? And have you any plans to tour Germany?

    Daniel: There’s this band called Cud who I have heard were quite the band back in the day. We are supporting them in Leeds, in December
    Laura: We’re booking a few gigs for next year – in London mostly so far. But elsewhere too. We would LOVE to come to Germany and are trying to plan a tour – any bookers/promoters in Germany want to help us out?!
    Tom: I would love to tour round Germany. I hear you guys can really drink

    Who or what has been influencing you recently?

    Ben: Apple products, sadly. And I don't mean ›Cox's Pippins‹.
    Daniel: Hard to point them out at this moment, but in future hindsight, it will probably be The Strokes, again.
    Laura: Grace Maxwell. Cartography. Old Rosie cider.
    Richard: Breaking Bad, Arrested Development and Paws. Guess that means I’m going to start cooking crystal meth, having hilarious family arguments and playing cool Scottish slacker rock. Awesome.

    What are your albums of the year?

    Ben: Ariel Pink, Tame Impala, Liars
    Daniel: I found this band called Heaviness from Sweden , it’s an old album I think, but better than anything else this year
    Laura: Celebration Rock by Japandroids
    Richard: Cokefloat! by Paws, Shrines by Purity Ring and Mature Themes by Ariel Pink
    Tom
    : Wrecking Ball by Springsteen, Visions by Grimes


    Thanks to the band for taking the time to answer my questions.

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    Liebe Leserinnen, liebe Leser!


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